How To Clean Skylights: Effective Cleaning Tips 

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How To Clean Skylights: Effective Cleaning Tips

Skylights bring an element of natural elegance to any home or workspace, flooding interiors with daylight and offering a window to the mesmerizing canvas of the sky. However, the charm of having a view of the cloud-wisped or star-speckled heavens comes with a unique cleaning challenge. Unlike standard windows, skylights face directly towards the sky, meaning they are more frequently exposed to the elements. This exposure leaves them vulnerable to accumulating debris, leaves, and bird droppings, and environmental pollutants that can obscure the clarity of the glass and diminish the amount of light filtering through.

Keeping skylights clean not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of a room but also maximizes the natural light and contributes to the overall energy efficiency of the space. As we prepare to delve deeper into the subject, we’ll uncover a range of effective cleaning tips and methods that will help maintain your skylights’ transparency and functionality. Each technique is tailored to address the unique challenges skylights present, ensuring that by the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with all the necessary knowledge to carry out the cleaning process as safely and efficiently as possible. Prepare to ascend the ladder of skylight maintenance with us as we explore the most effective ways to keep these windows to the sky as spotless as the day they were installed.

Key Takeaways

1. Begin the skylight cleaning process by removing any debris such as leaves or twigs from the surrounding roof area; this will prevent additional mess during the cleaning and avoid the potential for clogging the weep holes that drain water away from the skylight.

2. For the interior cleaning of the skylight, use a solution of mild soap and water applied with a soft sponge or cloth. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or tools that could scratch the surface. After washing, rinse the area with clean water to remove any soapy residue and dry with a squeegee or lint-free cloth to prevent water spots.

3. When cleaning the exterior, it’s safer to use a telescoping pole with a soft brush attachment if the skylight is out of reach rather than risking injury by climbing onto the roof. Like the interior, use a gentle soap and water mixture, rinse thoroughly, and dry to minimize streaking.

4. Consider the appropriate safety measures if you must access the roof for cleaning the skylight. Wear non-slip shoes, use a sturdy ladder, and ideally, work with a partner for added safety. If the skylight is too high or the roof too steep, hiring a professional may be the safest option.

5. Regular maintenance of skylights is important to extend their lifespan and maintain their functionality. Depending on the environment, cleaning skylights twice a year should be sufficient. Additionally, inspect the seals and hardware for any damage that may need repair to prevent leaks or other issues.

What Are the Best Practices for Cleaning Skylights?

Gathering the Right Supplies

Before beginning the cleaning process, it’s crucial to have all necessary supplies on hand. You will need a sturdy ladder, a squeegee, a sponge or soft cloth, a bucket, rubber gloves, mild soap or detergent, and glass cleaner. For exterior cleaning, consider a telescopic pole if your skylights are particularly high, and a non-abrasive, soft-bristled brush could be useful for stubborn grime.

Accessing Your Skylights Safely

Safety is paramount when cleaning skylights due to their often precarious locations. Make sure to use a sturdy ladder, correctly angled at a safe ratio of 1:4—meaning the base of the ladder should be one foot away from the surface it leans against for every four feet of ladder height. Always have someone spot you by holding the ladder. If possible, wear non-slip shoes and a safety harness.

Cleaning Skylights from the Inside

To clean the interior surface of the skylight, start by using a dry cloth or brush to clear away any dust and cobwebs. Then, mix a solution of mild soap and warm water, and lightly sponge down the glass. Avoid soaking the frame to prevent water damage. Wipe away the soap with a damp cloth and finish by using a squeegee to remove any remaining water, drying with a lint-free cloth for a streak-free finish.

Tackling Exterior Grime and Debris

The external part of skylights is more exposed to elements and, therefore, likely to accumulate more dirt. Begin by rinsing the glass with plain water to wash away loose debris. Next, dip your soft-bristled brush or sponge into soapy water and gently scrub the glass. Work in sections, rinsing frequently to prevent soap from drying on the glass. Finish off by squeegeeing the water off the glass and wiping with a dry, lint-free towel.

Addressing Mold and Mildew

Areas with high humidity may induce mold or mildew growth around skylight frames. A solution of equal parts water and white vinegar is effective for treating these areas. Apply the mixture with a spray bottle or cloth, leave it to sit for several minutes, and then wipe the area clean. For persistent mold, a gentle application of hydrogen peroxide or a store-bought mold remover may be required. Remember to wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling these substances.

Avoiding Common Cleaning Mistakes

When cleaning skylights, it’s important to avoid using abrasive tools or cleaners that could scratch or damage the glass. Also, steer clear of excessive pressure that might compromise the seal or the frame. Furthermore, never attempt to clean your skylights during inclement weather conditions such as rain or high winds.

Maintaining Skylights for Longevity

Aside from cleaning, maintaining the seals and frames of your skylights will help prolong their life. Check the integrity of the seals regularly and reseal if necessary to prevent leaks. If your skylight opens, lubricate the moving parts annually to ensure smooth operation. Keep nearby trees trimmed to minimize debris accumulation and potential damage from overhanging branches.

How Can You Keep Your Skylights Sparkling Between Deep Cleans?

1. Dust the interior glass once a week to prevent buildup.

2. Use a telescopic window-cleaning brush to remove exterior dirt monthly.

3. Apply a rain repellent to the exterior glass to help keep it cleaner longer.

4. Inspect and clear the weep holes regularly to prevent water pooling.

5. During your regular window cleaning routine, quickly squeegee your skylights for maintenance.

What Is the Best Way to Reach High Skylights Safely?

To clean high skylights safely, it’s crucial to use a sturdy ladder with a stabilizer or a scaffold system. Always ensure the ladder is on a firm, level surface and have someone spot you. For especially high or difficult to reach skylights, consider hiring professionals.

How Often Should Skylights Be Cleaned?

Skylights should be cleaned at least twice a year to maintain clarity and prevent buildup of debris. However, if you live in an area with frequent storms, pollen, or bird activity, you may need to clean them more regularly.

What Cleaning Solution Works Best on Skylights?

A mixture of mild dish soap and water is usually effective for cleaning skylights. For more stubborn grime, adding a small amount of vinegar to the solution can help. Avoid using abrasive cleaners that could scratch the glass.

How Do I Prevent Streaks While Cleaning Skylights?

To prevent streaks, use a squeegee to remove the cleaning solution from the skylight after washing. Make sure to wipe the squeegee with a clean, dry cloth after each pass to eliminate any residue or dirt.

Can I Use a Pressure Washer to Clean My Skylights?

While a pressure washer can be used on skylights, it should be done with caution. Use a low-pressure setting to prevent damaging the seals or the glass. It’s always safer to hand wash if possible.

What Should I Do If My Skylights Have Hard Water Stains?

For hard water stains, create a paste using water and baking soda. Apply the paste to the stains, let it sit for several minutes, and then gently scrub with a soft brush before rinsing clean.

Is It Safe to Walk on Skylights During Cleaning?

It is typically not safe to walk on skylights unless they are specifically designed to bear weight. Always clean from the perimeter or use manufacturer-approved stands or platforms.

How Can I Remove Debris from the Skylight Frame?

Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove any debris from the skylight frame. For the crevices and corners, a vacuum with a soft brush attachment can be particularly effective.

Will Vinegar Damage Skylight Seals?

Using diluted vinegar as a cleaning solution is generally safe and should not damage the seals of your skylights if used properly. However, always rinse thoroughly with water to prevent any potential residue from forming.

How Do I Address Condensation or Moisture Between Skylight Panes?

Condensation or moisture between skylight panes indicates a seal failure, and cleaning won’t fix this issue. It’s best to contact a professional to evaluate whether the skylight needs repair or replacement.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning skylights can greatly improve the natural light entering your home and maintains the integrity and clarity of your skylights. While the process may seem daunting due to their placement and the safety concerns, with the right tools and techniques, it’s a task that can be accomplished effectively and without much hassle. Always prioritize safety by using appropriate equipment and seeking assistance when necessary.

Remember to use gentle cleaning solutions and be mindful of the type of glass and seals you are dealing with. Regular maintenance keeps your skylights in prime condition and ensures that they continue to offer an unobstructed view of the sky for many years to come.

Keith Anderson

Keith Anderson is the founder and passionate force behind SqueakyCleaner Homes. With a keen eye for detail and a love for all things clean, Keith shares his extensive knowledge to help you transform your spaces into spotless sanctuaries. Join him in his quest for a cleaner world!